I recently posted Amy Winehouse's 'Hey little rich girl', one line of which says 'you left for London when you were nineteen'.
I did exactly the same!
For my first few months working in London I commuted from the south coast, which added about four hours to my working day. Every two weeks, when The Stock Exchange did lengthy accounting, it was even worse; I would often get home after midnight, then had to be up again early in order to be back in the office by 9 am. I knew people who'd done this for years, but it wasn't for me.
One office lunchtime I looked at a small bed-sit flat in Bayswater's Inverness Terrace, and took it.
Having been a schoolboy not long previously, it suddenly seemed perfectly normal to be earning money, renting my own pad in W2, and strutting around London in pinstripes and bowler. I had organised everything entirely alone, and took it all in my stride. OK, my older sister was working in Knightsbridge, but we hardly ever met.
Looking back on those days, nothing seemed unattainable. It seemed that anything I thought 'do-able'; was. I never thought that anything could ever go wrong; and it didn't.
I'll give an example. Later when I was antique dealing, my notorious partner Justin De Villeneuve suddenly said that we needed to go to Somerset (?), to a sale. We rushed off to Stockwell, bought a ridiculously cheap car, drove down, went to the sale, bought what we wanted, drove back, dumped the car, sold the purchased item, then divided the profits over a couple of pints. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary; it had been just another day.
Those days now seem a very long way off. No doubt age has mellowed me, both mentally and physically, and a quieter more sedate life is in order. But how wonderful things were when one simply threw caution to the winds, and did crazy things at the drop of a hat. Oh how I loved those days; but I wouldn't want them back.
Exactly the same for me. Those were the days!ReplyDelete
Just reflecting on this and reading some of the comments, and reminded of what i said about my two friends when i was in Barcelona, I havent really changed at all from when i left home at 17.Delete
I've become a hermit.Delete
Commuting to sixth form for two years on the notoriously clunky Fenchurch Street line from Southend to Upminster put me off commuting. Maybe it's a pity I've never had a spell in London (apart from as a baby) and spent all my adult days being provincial.ReplyDelete
I only spent about 4 years living in London, but they were well filled.Delete
Love the photo.ReplyDelete
I left home at fourteen for college (boarding school) and never been back home ever since. I managed to pay my own way through university by working, once even in a tannery! I never had a penny, nor did my friends, but we still enjoyed ourselves! Money went a long way. Rent was cheap. No car but a scooter; petrol was cheap. Didn't care for brand clothes. Like you I do not want to go back to those days, but I enjoyed them and they helped build my confidence - like the cat in your picture. Greetings Maria xReplyDelete
That first Bayswater flat cost me 4 Guineas a week, on a salary of 500 Guineas a year.Delete
Good photo Cro...wonder which dog gave in to temptation ...ReplyDelete
I can see one or two drooling.Delete
Don't you think Cro that there is something in being young..some attitude or gene or magic that just makes you live for the day much more that at any other time of life? there is a sort of optimism and 'well here I am world..what am I going to do today' feeling that over time (and the accumulation of stuff and family and commitment) we lose but never forget? that's what this post reminded me of.ReplyDelete
Exactly, and then you look back on it all and think 'I must have been crazy'.Delete
I didn't start doing the impulsive crazy things until I reached my 60s. I wonder if I were to be born again I'd do things differently now.ReplyDelete
I've been doing 'crazy' things since I can first remember. They might not be quite so crazy these days, but the fun goes on.Delete
My 17yo son has exactly that attitude- a real zest for life. I do all the fretting on his behalf!ReplyDelete
So does my youngest. He thinks something, then does it.Delete
Wasn't that Justin Twiggy's boyfriend/manager?ReplyDelete
Yes, he left us to work with her. He did quite well.Delete
Oh very much the same here Cro. It wasn't unusual for me to place pup in car and hare off around the country. Some of my travels were for work and involved being the only woman on the site. (Asbestos testing and air monitoring.) Then there was the time I decided to visit never before seen family on Standing Rock reservation; a journey of 1,100 miles. It seemed I was fearless in those days.ReplyDelete
Now? I am so fenced in by all the things I can no longer do I may as well be in prison. Driving? I'm lucky if I can drive 6 blocks once or twice a month. Hmmm, this is me shutting up now.
The older we get, the more our own clutter fences us in.Delete
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While washing dishes i realized that my comment has too many spelling errors, so i came back and deleted it...ReplyDelete
I did read it before you deleted it. Never worry about your spelling Yael, we just like to hear from you.Delete
Thank you Cro.Delete
Everything was so much easier then - I pity the young now, and don't quite know how they cope. We shared a house when at college, didn't we? The rent was £2.50 per week, I seem to remember. If I ran out of money toward the end of term, it was easy - I would make something, go to a shop 150 yards away from the college and sell it - I made a chair and sold it for £15 - quite a lot of money. I worked on a building site in the Summer, and £25 per week was more than enough. "Any fear of a job?" was the standard approach to the site manager. The answer was always a disappointing, "Yes."ReplyDelete
I remember going up to Wales for the weekend and buying an antique 'pram'. When I returned to Farnham I sold it and lived off the profit for several weeks. Things seemed to much easier then. We've just had a friend here for coffee and we were talking about how frighteningly different times are.Delete
It was easier but we didn't complain about things then, we just got on with it and enjoyed ourselves. Like me in a room with no hot water for instance. Now we have a generation who want everything to be perfect and if it isn't someone has to be blamed. We weren't like that.Delete
Youth in all its glory Cro.ReplyDelete
And in all its freedom.Delete
It is good to look back at life and say "been there, done that" and have a smile for those adventures that could only be done when we were young.ReplyDelete
I'd hate not to have been rash and foolhardy, it would have seemed like wasted youth.Delete
I left our tiny northern mining town for London at age 19. I got a job with the BBC and lived in the BBC hostel on Princes Square, Bayswater. Went on to flat share at Earl's Court and Queen's Park - hovels!! I could only stick it for 2 years, hated it! I upped sticks, not back home, but to a tiny seaside village in Devon to move in with my then boyfriend who's now hubby. The joys of not being shackled to property and possessions meant we could go anywhere in those days.ReplyDelete
I moved a lot in London. Crazy landlords and several slums meant we moved around almost on a monthly basis. I don't think I stayed more that 6 months in any one flat.Delete
I lived a hostel for 5 guineas a week which included beakfast and evening meal. Then a room with only cold water and no bath, not even shared. I wont tell you the rest. It just went down hill. But i always had a job and turned up for work.Delete
I just read a study saying the thing that wealthy people had in common - they do not procrastinate. Must be why I'm not wealthy. I have to overthink everything. Introverts with anxiety can't do anything other than that.ReplyDelete
Wealthy people have often lost everything several times over before they get the wealth they desire.Delete
I guess it is easier not to be wealthy. My sister got a large insurance settlement and it was nearly a full time job just trying to figure out how not to lose it.ReplyDelete
Remember Groucho Marx who said "A stockbroker is someone who invests your money until it's all gone".Delete
At sixteen, I took an office job in Westminster, London, and commuted up from Surrey - for 13 years! I absolutely loved it, there was always something going on. I bought a pair of Levis with my first pay cheque, then went skating in Streatham. Oh, the days of youth!ReplyDelete
Your first pay cheque sounds well spent. I expect mine went on much more mundane things.Delete
My Grandson is an A&R man for Universal and lives and works in London, he takes everything in his stride and shoots around the world as though its just going shopping. Oh to have some of his energy.ReplyDelete
My youngest is a bit like that. "Where shall we spend this winter" etc.Delete
It must have been wonderful. I have only found that kind of freedom recently (well, my version of it). I much prefer being in my 60's.ReplyDelete
I enjoyed being irresponsible; and still do.Delete